Author Topic: Cold Weather Car hack - so your engine starts tomorrow.  (Read 1024 times)

Prospector

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Cold Weather Car hack - so your engine starts tomorrow.
« on: January 04, 2018, 07:31:22 PM »
Momma's car has no block heater. So tonight I did an old trick that my buddy Jim showed me years ago. As I installed my pseudo-heater it occurred to me that others on this board may not be equipped for weather they are facing this week, and this trick may make a difference for them.

Grab a trouble-light and a old-school incandescent light bulb. Pop the hood and put the light bulb so that the heat shield is resting against the engine block and the safety cage is against the lower rad hose. Now click it on, close the hood, and go to bed. The engine will absorb warmth from the cage, and the antifreeze will warm in rad hose, circulate up through your radiator and set up a natural flow to keep the engine warm all night. You only have 60 to 100 watts of power, but there should be enough heat that in the morning your engine will fire up. Alternatively, you can put the light on the battery to prevent it from freezing.

Also, make sure you have a full gas tank so you don't get frozen fuel lines. And that you have winter washer-fluid. I suggest getting a container of fuel line antifreeze and lock de-icer, and keeping them in your glove box this week.

This cold weather wisdom is brought to you courtesy of Canada, where our nipples stay sharp until the first twist of spring.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 07:50:15 PM by Prospector »
Illegitimi non carborundum

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Dee

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Re: Cold Weather Car hack - so your engine starts tomorrow.
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2018, 07:48:00 PM »
Hahahaha! Sometimes I think you and my spouse are two peas from the same pod. He just did this to our car last week. Sadly, it didn't work. Luckily, I had the day off and we were able to wait it out. We prevented the problem from arising again by moving stuff around to make room for the car in the garage. We're also getting a new battery because the car spends my workday outside in the parking lot.

I get verbal reminders at least weekly about not letting the gas tank get to less than half full.

And to wash the salt off the underbody of the car frequently.

And always use the emergency brake when parking lest is seize from disuse.

And turn off the heater before starting the car so as to not tax the battery.

And...well, I think that's all : )

soccerluvof4

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Re: Cold Weather Car hack - so your engine starts tomorrow.
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2018, 02:51:01 AM »
Oh this reminds me of the days when I was young having to always put the dipstick in the oil everynight as my parents had junkers and no garage. Never thought of the light trick but makes sense. Agreed on the fuel. I tell everyone in my family your care is empty at half a tank but no one listens but me!
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PC2K

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Re: Cold Weather Car hack - so your engine starts tomorrow.
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2018, 03:29:35 AM »
A stick-on oilpan heater can be ordered for like $30 from China. So they don't have to be expensive. Doesn't keep the battery warm, though...

Aelias

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Re: Cold Weather Car hack - so your engine starts tomorrow.
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2018, 03:44:12 AM »
When it gets bad, we disconnect the battery and bring it inside for the night.

Prospector

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Re: Cold Weather Car hack - so your engine starts tomorrow.
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2018, 05:17:32 AM »
A stick-on oilpan heater can be ordered for like $30 from China. So they don't have to be expensive. Doesn't keep the battery warm, though...

You can get magnetic ones at Canadian Tire/Pep boys. Good call. Might not arrive overnight or be a good spend for a once-per-year cold snap though. For folks in areas that usually don't see this weather, the trouble light could be enough.

My biggest concern if I were in a place like Virginia would be that the fuels aren't treated with an antifreeze. I wonder how many frozen fuel lines will be an issue.
Illegitimi non carborundum

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Prospector

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Re: Cold Weather Car hack - so your engine starts tomorrow.
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2018, 05:18:19 AM »
When it gets bad, we disconnect the battery and bring it inside for the night.

Also a worthy plan... sounds like work, but worth it.
Illegitimi non carborundum

Biking 1,000 km to NYC with my 10yr old - "Not all profits are measured in dollars."

Current Journal: A Being Being
Journal 1: 80 Pages
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CM*TO Is a thing!! We're accepting names for the waitlist!!

MilesTeg

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Re: Cold Weather Car hack - so your engine starts tomorrow.
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2018, 10:07:26 AM »
Momma's car has no block heater. So tonight I did an old trick that my buddy Jim showed me years ago. As I installed my pseudo-heater it occurred to me that others on this board may not be equipped for weather they are facing this week, and this trick may make a difference for them.

Grab a trouble-light and a old-school incandescent light bulb. Pop the hood and put the light bulb so that the heat shield is resting against the engine block and the safety cage is against the lower rad hose. Now click it on, close the hood, and go to bed. The engine will absorb warmth from the cage, and the antifreeze will warm in rad hose, circulate up through your radiator and set up a natural flow to keep the engine warm all night. You only have 60 to 100 watts of power, but there should be enough heat that in the morning your engine will fire up. Alternatively, you can put the light on the battery to prevent it from freezing.

Also, make sure you have a full gas tank so you don't get frozen fuel lines. And that you have winter washer-fluid. I suggest getting a container of fuel line antifreeze and lock de-icer, and keeping them in your glove box this week.

This cold weather wisdom is brought to you courtesy of Canada, where our nipples stay sharp until the first twist of spring.

This is great advice, but you are missing a very, very critical part. When you go out to start your car, remove the light (of course), but ALSO check for cats or other small critters looking for warmth that don't understand the concept of pulleys/fan belts...

This applies more to a traditional or other block heater that doesn't require opening the hood to disconnect since taking out the light would probably scare them away, but advice offered anyway.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Cold Weather Car hack - so your engine starts tomorrow.
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2018, 10:28:30 AM »
My biggest concern if I were in a place like Virginia would be that the fuels aren't treated with an antifreeze. I wonder how many frozen fuel lines will be an issue.

Might not be that bad. Despite being advertised as part of the south, Virginia gets regrettably fucking cold each and every winter. Still, a good post, with many good reminders.